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Old 05-14-09, 05:58 PM   #1
Kurt Erlenbach
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Double space shuttles

I know Mono-b likes these photos, so here are a few more. There are from rides over the last few weeks.

Atlantis (presently at the Hubble) in the background, Endeavour in the foreground:



Last weekend on my ride out to the beach, my wheel broke and I was marooned for an hour. If you have to be marooned out there, at least you've got something to look at:





You will note that pad 39A, where Endeavour is sitting, is significantly modified from how it looked last fall:



39A is being modified to launch Constellation, which is the next-generation spacecraft being built for a moon launch and possibly a trip to Mars. The three new towers around the pad are lightning protection.
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Old 05-14-09, 07:13 PM   #2
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Wow!! That is super cool!!
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Old 05-14-09, 09:27 PM   #3
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I started to put up a post and request that you take pictures of the two shuttles, again.

You were reading my mind, my Florida Friend.

Thanks.

I think I'll get the Apollo 13 DVD out and watch it before I retire.
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Old 05-15-09, 03:33 AM   #4
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Very cool indeed! I liked them the first time you posted and now again, thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-15-09, 06:03 AM   #5
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A unique set of ride pics. Thanks for posting.

How do you handle all those hills?
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Old 05-15-09, 06:06 AM   #6
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How is the security??

If they are close enough for a picture, it would seem they are close enough for something else??
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Old 05-15-09, 06:31 AM   #7
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that is amazing. how often has it happened to have 2 shuttles on the pads at the same time? this is so cool.
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Old 05-15-09, 07:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for the pictures!
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Old 05-15-09, 10:30 AM   #9
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Cool pictures. The perks of bike riding in Florida
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Old 05-15-09, 06:57 PM   #10
Kurt Erlenbach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
How do you handle all those hills?
From my house out to the north end of the beach and back is 40.6 miles, and encompasses a whopping 640 feet of climbing. The wind makes up for the lack of hills.

Regarding security, here is a short story. Years ago, the Cassini probe, now orbiting Saturn, launched from here. It was the first space vehicle powered by plutonium, and there were a lot of protests. A client of mine was a security officer for the space center, and he told me that the protesters were getting in all over the place, mainly because security was so lax. They rely significantly on the swamp, the snakes, and the alligators to keep people away. A couple of years ago a boatload of smuggled Chinese immigrants wash ashore near the shuttle pads. They wandered about for about half an hour before they approached a secuirty guard and asked for help.

This is the last time two shuttles were going to be on the pads at once. Last fall, when I last posted double shuttles, was supposed to be the last time. As part of the safety procedures put in place after the Columbia crash in 2003, when the shuttle is not going to the space station, a second shuttle has to be ready to launch a rescue mission in case the shuttle in orbit is damaged and cannot return. If a damaged shuttle is at the ISS, they could remain there safely until a rescue mission is launched. However, Atlantis is at the HST doing the last maintenance mission and there is no way it could get to the ISS if it were damaged. Thus, they prepare a second shuttle for a rapid launch in case there is trouble. Atlantis was going to HST last fall when something on the telescope broke right before launch, resulting in a postponement to prepare another fix. Thus, we get another last look at two shuttles on the pad at once.

All shuttle launched go from pad 39B, which is the one farther from the road I ride to the beach. That pad is about 4 miles from the road, so when a shuttle is on the pad you get a nice, but not great, view. The closer pad, 39A, is about two miles from the road, so oyu get a much better view when there is a shuttle on that pad. 39A is going to be used for the new Constellation rocket, and I am really looking forward to seeing it on the pad.

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Old 05-15-09, 07:10 PM   #11
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Shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble telescope transiting the sun. The transit only lasted .8 seconds. Article link.


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Old 05-15-09, 07:13 PM   #12
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^^^^^^^^^^^^ That is one truly great picture. There is another one out there with just Atlantis transiting the sun. An amazing work of photography.
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Old 05-15-09, 07:55 PM   #13
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I last visited that area in 1959 when the space program was in its' infancy. They (NASA?) were about to launch what must have been an early satellite; there were hundreds of onlookers gathered out on "the jetty(?)". I don't remember much else, but it was a huge event for tourists and locals alike. I'm not even sure if they were called NASA back then.
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Old 05-16-09, 02:05 PM   #14
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Launches are great things to watch. I have seen almost every shuttle launch since 1982 (including Challenger in 1985 - that was a sight not to be forgotten) and several other satellite launches. I missed Atlantis going up this week on Monday. Sometimes I stop court and make everyone go outside to have a look. I am a space junkie (I'm watchng the third Hubble repair space walk as I write this). My son and I went out to the Kennedy Space Center visitor center last weekend to watch the new Star Trek movie on the IMAX theatre, which I think is about as nerdy as it comes.
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Old 05-16-09, 02:19 PM   #15
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I envey you Kerlenbach///I watched The Shuttle go when I visited Florida twice. I try to watch every thing on the TV there is nothing I enjoy more than the shuttle and brave pilots and technicians heading into space./Kenneth
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